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|Action, Advocacy and Arts Forum@ ASU Downtown Campus, Friday, April 3, '09 –"Community Development Through the Arts" Panel Presentation
I would like to thank you and your panel for putting on a great dialogue last Friday! We have heard wonderful things and we appreciate you coming out to help educate and facilitate a discussion on Community Development Through the Arts
I would appreciate you forwarding this on to your team.
It was a pleasure working with you!
Amanda Tomchak,Management Intern,Department of Student Engagement
ASU Wells Fargo Student Center at the Arizona Center, ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus
Phone: (602) 496-0976
From: William Simmons
Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of the panel on Friday – it was truly transformative for me. It is always so instructive to be in a room with such amazing individuals doing such profound work.
Hope you are having a relaxing weekend and enjoying the beautiful weather.
William Paul Simmons, Director, MA in Social Justice and Human Rights
Special note/ Sunday, April 12, 2009, New York Times, Sunday Styles, p. 1, article:
"Community Organizing Never Looked so Good" By SARA RIMER
Thanks to Barack Obama community organizing is now seen by many young people as an exciting career.
A job that has not been all that alluring to college graduates is in resurgence, according to leading community organizers and educators. Once thought of as a destination for lefty radicals committed to living lives of low pay, frustration and bitter burnout, community organizing is now seen by many young people an exciting career.
With their jobs, students envision helping communities address urgent issues — economics or the environment, education or social justice — while developing leadership skills.
The ASU Downtown Phoenix campus is geared toward city-minded students attracted to service-oriented careers. It offers degree programs that focus on serving the city, whether it is improving its citizens' health, addressing the community's social and economic needs, teaching the youth or informing residents on key issues. "We're creating something that has not existed in Arizona , which is a truly urban university environment that lets students and faculty experience the educational process in the midst of an active city," says Mernoy Harrison, vice president and provost of the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus.
"Social Embedded, Community Development Work" at ASU DT campus may not have evolved as effectively without the Vision, Commitment, Leadership and Compassion that Malissa Geer,ASU Downtown Community Liaison Representative, holds for the CONNECTION between the university and the local and extended community.We are also grateful for the support of this work by Dean Debra Friedman and Deb Gullett.
With this background information in mind the Cultural Arts Coalition http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.intro.shtml was invited to organize a team of experts and students to examine and explore the concept of "Community Development with a Focus on the Arts" as the means of communication to drive this grass roots engagement through the university coordination of Malissa.
Dialogue Description: (Room- UCENT 282) - Community organizing and development is a critical aspect to drive solutions for social issues. This panel will explore how to accomplish this vague, but much needed task through an example of community organizing through the arts in the greater Phoenix area.
Community members and students from late teens to eighty years young attended.Jacqui Ceballos (in the center) had been a speaker at ASU West the preceding week addressing students, faculty and activists on her role as one of the founders of NOW National Organization for Women (NOW) .
Posters were provided documenting the work of all the panel participants.
The Mylar artwork to the left had been created at the beginning of the week through a public participation process at ASU West Campus on Border Justice, facilitated by participants of the Cultural arts Coalition including students at ASU West campus. http://asunews.asu.edu/20090320_borderjustice
Michele Ceballos meets Courtney Anderson, student at ASU West campus.Michele through her company Opendance http://www.opendance.org/works with many different populations which also includes her movement/performance work withGuillermo Gómez-Peña,a performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. Most of his artistic and intellectual work concerns the interface between North and South (Mexico and the U.S.), border culture and the politics of the brown body. His original interdisciplinary arts projects and books explore borders, physical, cultural and otherwise, between his two countries.
Thank you Bill for beginning the "Improv Performance Presentation"Dr. Simmons had just concluded coordinating and facilitating a Border Justice Symposium at ASU West.
Both Grace Daniels & Courtney Anderson from ASU West spoke of their role as artists and students working within the community-recently with the Border Justice Symposium @ ASU West campus.
Martin Moreno discussed his commitment in the community as a visual artist and educator for many years.He feels it is the responsibility of the artist to convey messages addressing community concerns leading to resolve.Martin does this community engagement work through the Cuervo Gallery http://latinoartproject.com/ he manages with his wife and the art instruction he does with youth seeking their GED, PSA Art Awakenings. http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.event.37.shtml
Martin talked about passing the torch of leadership to younger community artists.He introduced Francisco Garciawho has already demonstrated a profound interest and commitment in carrying on this role. Francisco revealed his focus of compassion for those with whom he works and the tools necessary to give them guidance.
Communities where these young artists are interfacing with youth of diverse cultural backgrounds are in the city of Guadalupe. Gino Turrubiartes is the Community Development Director. http://www.guadalupeaz.org/Gino is working with the young people of his town to help them identify their cultural background and intentions to sustain their neighborhoods.Gino will look to Bill and his team of students to assist them in the future.Gino also spoke with Martin about a mural project for the community.
Gino introduced the work Silvia Rodriguez has done with him and the city’s youth in the past.Silvia will graduate from ASU this May.The possibility of her graduating from the community where she was raised was almost non existent in past years.Silvia spoke of themany who help support and promote these youth, who then go on to do meaningful and important work in building this greater Phoenix Community.Through the introduction of Silvia to Dr. Simmons, it is planned that Silvia will have an opportunity to continue her education at ASU West and thereby provide opportunities for more youth like Silvia.
Silvia thanked Michel Ceballos who has provided the mentoring and compassion necessary to guide these students to fulfill their dreams. Michele discussed the necessary ACTION taken by all of us to reach out to alternative spaces like Guadalupe.Here there are possibilities through the arts to engage and integrate these community members with their local social justice issues leading to solutions that benefit the city in positive ways.Michele suggested that we follow-up with this idea soon.
Another recent graduate of ASU who is currently working with Michele is Dulce Juarez.Dulce surprised us all with a vignette of an old woman as a story teller who reveals to all that, "We must tell our stories!".
Stories link us together within Our Shared Humanity-revealing Our Connection to Universal Human Concerns that Create Us as a One People.Dulce was just accepted into the MFA program at ASU.
Dulce has been working within the Cultural Arts Coalition on a project for next year, the International Day of Peace, Monday, September 21 http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/.Through the various meetings she has met Jackie Mahoney a Ph.D. Candidate at ASU DT campus in Social Work.Jackie has been communicating with Naf from Namibia, Africa, for the past year and a half.Through both of their cultural development work and the need to assist in poorer, economic communities with AIDS and life skills education, Jackie will be going to Namibia this summer for 8 weeks.Scholarship funding to assist Jackie is being granted through the Cultural Arts Coalition.This work is all about Global Community Development utilizing the arts as a vehicle for reaching out to the youth population Jackie will be meeting.
WE are all very proud of this personal commitment that will affect many lives in a positive manner and will be sustained through other persons following in her foot steps by going to Namibia.
Business is very important in the idea of sustainability for these community development programs.Michele White at Fair Trade Café does this work through her café that also functions as a social entrepreneurship in the heart of down town Phoenix.Here persons can come to not only gather and share a meal, but to witness the various visual arts on the wall, films and community programs that are all themed with a social conscious direction. This kind of a facility provides a format for other potential businesses in how to conduct their community focus-"Coffee with Conscience". http://azfairtrade.com/cafe/index.php
Robert Miley illustrates the heartfelt action of combining the creative processes with the left and right sides of the brain in the CAN DO SPIRIT.Robert’s programs and curriculum around the theme of Release the Fear are in many segments of the greater Phoenix community.Through Robert’s non-profit organization an incredible sculpture was also designed and created that reminds us all of our commitment to be Peace Builders. http://www.releasethefear.org/
Sculpture on Roosevelt & Central
Melanie Ohm defined Community Development ---An Act of a Community with an Intention to Improve The Quality of Life with a focus upon Building a Capacity producing assets (physical, human,social and financial and or environmental) through a Structured Plan---Melanie also introduced the Guiding Practices the Cultural Arts Coalition utilizes to format all its programming (http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac3.shtml )
and spoke of these Guiding Practices in the context of the recent pilot program the CAC designed and completed at the Lower Buckeye Jail with juveniles. http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.event.47.shtml
Questions and comments followed the panel’s presentation.
Francisco’s comments were RIGHT ON….Thank you.
In order for effective grassroots action and events to happen, an understanding of both the detail and a vision of the whole is required. And even more importantly, the interconnection of all. How do ideas, people, actions intersect, converge, grow out of and into each other, fit together? It's not enough to understand the thing, the action itself. We must understand the interdependence of all.
Francisco gave us the vision of the tree and its roots connected in the earth.
A very important question followed, "How do you all find time to do this incredible work?"Answer, "You hook up with a trusted buddy on this journey.It is essential!"
The final component of the day was introduced by Caitlin Gizler.Caitlin reviewed with the group the use of this community development art making tool
that she has used on multiple occasions and instructed with others.
A colored sheet of questions to reflect upon and answer was included in the packet of information…
1.What defines Community Development?
2. What arts processes will you consider to expand your community work?
3. What new Guiding Practice or Practices did you learn from this discussion that are applicable to your work?
The answers to these questions were attached to the Honoring Space with the combined intentions of all to be involved in Community Development work in the future or to expand one’s current interaction.
We thank everyone for staying through the Intentions Activity and the Creation of the Honoring Space left behind to give Remembrance to this Discussion Group’s Wisdom.Caitlin then proceeded to fabricate the attachment of the questions with answers to the material form.It will now be passed on to not only the audience, but shared with other groups!!!
Final networking and conversations continued before everyone’s departure.
Thank you all for being present and participating in this community building
Review by judy butzine
Co-founder and co-director of the Cultural Arts Coalition
judy butzine’s mentor in Community Development Through the Arts for the past 16 years, ASU Professor Emeritus, Eugene Grigsby Jr., http://www.ArtsCARE.org/cac.event.25.shtml with Mark Herring
Following the panel presentation this research paper has referenced an article to illustrate the parallel processes of Community Development and Community Development Through Artistic Expression:
Its importance is relevant to all of us. Melanie Ohm in her discussion on Friday talked about the "Principles of Community Arts-Based Development", the continued speaking and referred to the "Cultural Arts Coalition's 9 Guiding Practices" as the action component.
All of the persons on the COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE ARTS panel are active in the work that addresses theseArts-based Community DevelopmentPrinciples being promoted throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
The ASU DT campus through the College of Public Programs is directing attention to curriculum around these "Principles of Development".
Converging Streams: The Community Arts and Sustainable Community Movements by Patricia A. Shifferd and Dorothy Lagerroos
In their book "The Cultural Creatives," Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson use the streams metaphor to describe the way in which various movements for social change from the 1960s forward are, in their view, converging to result in a new cultural paradigm that will provide a worldview capable of dealing with the crises of our time.
The focus of this paper is the convergence of two of those streams: the arts-based community-development movement (ACD) and the sustainable community-development (SCD) movement. The former has been practiced for many years, in both urban and rural contexts. In urban communities, mural and public art projects and work with inner-city youth are just two examples of the work that a generation of urban artists has been doing to build on the assets of neighborhoods.
These two movements, the community arts movement and the sustainable community-development movement, have much in common. Not only are their histories somewhat parallel, but their underlying values are very similar. Even though their basic principles, which at their barest and most obvious ("environment" and "art"), seem distinct and different, the deeper values of each are entirely compatible with those of the other.
We reached this conclusion by studying a set of framework documents from each of the movements. These framework documents lay out the basic principles of the organizations with which they are identified. (See Appendix). The following chart summarizes the values of each movement that correlate to similar values in the other. The phrases in the chart are all taken from one or more of the framework documents listed in the appendix.
Comparison of Basic Principles
A further analysis of the values common to both movements is elaborated below. In this analysis, it can be seen that not only are there substantial shared values between these two movements, but also that these values are not in synch with modern culture. However, as we will show in the conclusion, these values are those of a new culture emerging in postmodern times.
Equity and Social Justice
Both movements stand firm on a basic commitment to shrinking the distance between haves and have-nots, between the powerful and the voiceless, between those with overwhelming choices and those with few or none. Equity is one of the Three Es (Environment, Economics, and Equity) of the sustainability movement and therefore is one of the values that most clearly separates the sustainable community-development movement from conventional environmentalism, which has not considered this value as central to its mission, and also from modern society as a whole. The evidence for this value in the SCD movement comes from criteria used to evaluate development projects, which include issues concerning: "Who get the benefits? Who pays the costs? Does the project unfairly affect people in other parts of the world, or in the future?" The Earth Charter, under the heading "Social and Economic Justice," mentions principles to guide development including equity, sustainability and the eradication of poverty. It also mentions gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.
Similarly, in the community arts movement the CAN Report states that "equitable access to resources for all people and equitable treatment of all people is essential, whether the arena is environmental equity, racial equity, economic equity, legal equity, gender equity or countless others." Indeed, one of the underlying reasons for the existence of the community arts movement is to "assure that the voices of disenfranchised communities are heard."
Another value shared by the two movements, but not necessarily by modern culture, is preservation of diversity, of the rich variety present in natural and human resources. Diversity provides stability in times of change, and also provides new ideas when stability is stifling and change needs to be instigated.
The SCD movement values biological diversity, as befits its environmental roots, because biological diversity provides stability in ecosystems. For the same reason it values economic diversity. But second on a list of eleven characteristics of a sustainable community is valuing cultural diversity, something the casual observer might not assume about sustainable community advocates.
In the community arts movement, the justification for valuing diversity is somewhat different, but is equally strong. "Communities, places, and cultures are unique and shape people and their behaviors and relationships; diversity is essential for democracy; and it’s opposite—the uniform, generic, the monolithic—is a dangerous social state to be avoided." Similarly, Adams and Goldbard state, among six unifying principles, that "Diversity is a social asset, part of the cultural commonwealth, requiring protection and nourishment." 
Both "equity" and "diversity" are values often shortened simply to "respect," and several framework documents we studied use the term frequently.
One of the most striking parallels between these two movements is the faith in "bottom-up" practices to bring about a new society. While conventional modern thought assumes that leadership for new ideas comes from elites, both of these movements have staked a healthy human future on the ideas and actions of ordinary people working at the community level. Both movements envision a vibrant, participatory democracy, especially at the local level.
The Earth Charter, a basic, widely circulated document in the SCD movement, for example, supports democracy in the first section of its principles by which the conduct of all individuals, organization, businesses, governments and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed. Under the heading "Respect and care for the community of life," a guiding principle of the Earth Charter is: "Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful." Another principle is: "Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice" and "promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence and peace."
Similarly, in the community arts movement, the CAN Report affirms that "all people’s voices must be heard and dialogue between and among groups is fundamental." Likewise, the SPARC mission statement claims that public art should promote civic dialogue. Maryo Gard Ewell, quoting Vachel Lindsay, notes that we can be made strong "by the vision of a completely beautiful neighborhood and the passion for a completely democratic art."
A subtle thread through both of these movements is a sense of humility in the face of change, a sense that we are not yet "there," that we do not have all the answers and, in fact, never will. This stance of openness to new knowledge that will lead in new directions is evident in framework documents of both movements. The criteria for evaluating the sustainability of new development proposals concludes with a search for improvement over time, seeking adequate feedback mechanisms that will tell citizens whether goals are being met and that will allow for future course corrections. Likewise, the Sanborn principles, developed by leading alternative-energy gurus, support continuous re-evaluation of premises in its work. The well-cited Hannover Principles of William McDonough, also support seeking to share knowledge in order to constantly improve.
While less visible in the community arts movement’s framework documents, the stance is nevertheless present. The communal aspect of the artistic process means that artists "learn from one another" and the ever newness of creativity means that old answers just won’t do. As noted in the principles of the Institute for Community Cultural Development, artists at work in the community need to be "aware that you don’t know where you are, and to be both a learner and a master." Artists, perhaps more than others in the community, are inherently open to questioning the status quo and to seeking new and more appropriate solutions.
Both movements reflect another value that is distinctly "unmodern"; they seem increasingly comfortable stating that they are engaged in a spiritual journey, not simply one that improves the material or physical world. The arts, of course, have long been associated with the spiritual realm, but not necessarily in the way stated by Maryo Gard Ewell. She sees the purpose of ACD as one which results in "respect and reverence for the sacred in one another." At a convening of ACD activists in May of 2006, Arlene Goldbard convened a discussion entitled "Community Cultural Development as a Spiritual Practice."